Flash Fiction: You Can’t Game Plan the Unknown

The bell rang, and the bald brute charged across the cage as if shot from a cannon.

Nick dodged the initial rush, but he was perplexed; this was not how his team visualized the opening round. Normally, this dude began fights at a snail’s pace. 

Turning an ear towards his corner for advice, Nick heard crickets. 

As the first five-minutes neared its conclusion, the onslaught slowed, and the remainder of the contest followed the planned upon blueprint.

Earning the victory, somehow, Nick learned a valuable lesson: expect the unexpected.

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Prompted from The Weekend Writing Prompt at: https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/weekend-writing-prompt-147-perplex/.

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Prompted from Fandango’s One Word Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/03/10/fowc-with-fandango-visualize/.

Flash Fiction: Home Is Where the Heart Is

For Christmas, Jim’s girlfriend bought him a year membership to the area’s leading MMA gym. 

Most of Jim’s training had taken place in the backyard, alone. After, somehow, stringing together three wins as an amateur, Jim wondered how much further coaching and a proper facility would take him.

When Jim removed two wads of what resembled beef jerky from his bag and noticed a guy staring at him as he put on his gloves, his self-confidence sunk. 

The next thing Jim knows, that same guy, who he perceived as snooty, was handing him a brand new pair of gloves.

Prompted from the MMA Storytime 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge at: https://mmastorytime.com/2020/03/02/100-word-flash-fiction-8/.

Prompted from the Fandango One Word Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/03/03/fowc-with-fandango-snooty/.

Flash Fiction: A Loss Ruins It All

The butterflies in Tyler’s stomach bounced around like heated molecules. After a handful of fights, he thought he had a handle on his nerves, but a belt on the line and a huge opportunity for his career injected some self doubt.

“Breathe and visualize,” Tyler’s teammate repeated, and a few butterflies began flying in formation.

Tyler didn’t worry about the peanuts the promoter called “cash” or about his head being bashed in; instead, he believed he could do something great in the sport, and a loss would stall everything. 

An official poked their head into Tyler’s dressing room, “You’re up!”

Word Count: 100

Prompted from MMA Storytime’s 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge at: https://mmastorytime.com/2020/02/24/100-word-flash-fiction-challenge-7/.

Prompted from Fandango’s One Word Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/02/25/fowc-with-fandango-few/.

Prompted from the Three Things Challenge #156 at: https://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/2020/02/25/three-things-challenge-156/.

Five Line Fiction: Kill Or Be Killed

“Bait her with feints and uncork that right hand as soon as she bites,” Coach modeled the necessary movements as an example to pair with his words.

Clarissa believed her MMA debut was going better than the panic in Coach’s voice would suggest, but that’s when she realized what was absent—at the most needed moment—from her mindset: violence. Kill or be killed.

Leaving the stool to enter the third, and final, round, Clarissa bit down hard on her mouthpiece, trapping Coach’s advice in her skull and severing the ‘happy-to-be-there’ mentality.

“Lovely execution, Clarissa,” Coach repeated as though he’d been zapped into a state of constant shock after Clarissa knocked her opponent out cold.

Prompted from Friday’s Five Lines or Less Challenge at: https://patriciasplace.me/2020/02/07/friday-5-lines-or-less-9/.

Prompted from The Word of the Day Challenge at: https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2020/02/09/lovely/.

Prompted from Fandango’s Word of the Day Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/02/09/fowc-with-fandango-bait/.

Six-Sentence Story: Battle Scars

Any words of encouragement—good luck, have fun, break a leg—other than what Caleb’s mom offered before each fight would have been better: “Why do you want to take a chance of messing up that cute, little face?”

While she saw Caleb’s youthful glow—a trait embedded into every mother’s DNA—a massive frame of muscle, hardened from years of wrestling, turned to look at his mother, and a face—accessorized with knobby, cauliflower ears and a nose hooked like a question mark for the unknown number of breaks suffered—smiled widely, assuring her that there was nothing to worry about.

Of course, the move to pro invited plenty of worry, and Caleb’s coach zeroed in on elbows, especially for his upcoming debut against Mark Riley—a fighter with a reputation for slicing open opponents with the points of his arms like they were blunt force carving tools.

Coach spelled out the game plan from day one of camp, “All you wrestlers are the same: you’re useless on your back, so every movement—whether on offense or defense—is to keep us from winding up like a tortoise on its shell. Got it?”

Unfortunately, the entire strategy focused on not getting into a particular position, instead of what to do if it were to actually happen, and the symmetry in Caleb’s face was disfigured—a roadmap of scar tissue and a reconstructed cheekbone—forever.

Prompted from the Six-Sentence Story at: https://girlieontheedge1.wordpress.com/2020/02/02/sundays-six-sentence-story-word-prompt-93/.

Prompted from Fandango’s Word of the Day Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/02/05/fowc-with-fandango-forever/.

Also prompted from One Word Sunday at: https://travelwithintent.com/2020/02/02/symmetry-barbican-london/.

Ten-Sentence Story: Chasing Dollars Right Down the Drain

Words aren’t supposed to hurt, but in the world of MMA, they can most definitely lead in that direction.

A heated exchange online between Northern California’s Lee Stunts and Oregon’s Ray Tiffer caught the eye of Four-Ounce Fury’s Promoter, Richie Wild. Within the hour, Wild had contacted each party’s management team, drew up the contracts, and calendared the promotion’s most anticipated main event to date. 

It wasn’t so much the content shared on the ListenUp app that garnered Wild’s attention; rather, it was the tidal wave of interaction generated from the fanbases of both fighters. Each comment, ‘like,’ and share was another dollar in the bank.

Four-Ounce Fury 8 went down at an abandoned ice-skating rink in Ashland, Oregon—the ideal midway point for Stunts, representing Humboldt, and Tiffer, from somewhere around Bend.

The first bout of the evening hadn’t even begun, and the show was already sold out—nearly unimaginable on the local circuit. Wild even sold an additional two-hundred “standing room only” tickets, but he had to cut that off—shredding his sensibilities to pieces—and turn away customers with grips of cash when every clear path vanished. 

Initially, Wild saw full seats, beers steadily streaming, and a snack bar line that never ended—profit, profit, profit; however, the tension surrounding the main event thickened in the atmosphere, and he was able to see the situation for what it actually was: an understaffed and underpaid security team, alcohol-fueled hostility, and a growing awareness to the crowd’s level of unpredictability.

Before the opening bell sounded, a riot erupted outside of the cage, and Wild didn’t hesitate to escape through the nearest exit. From a safe distance, the captain of Four-Ounce Fury dialed 9-1-1 and watched his ship sink.

Prompted from MMA Storytime’s Ten-Sentence Story Challenge at: https://mmastorytime.com/2020/02/03/ten-sentence-story-challenge-4/.

Also prompted from Fandango’s Word of the Day Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/02/04/fowc-with-fandango-exchange/.

Ten-Sentence Story: That’s Illegal

“Crazy Train” Carl DuFrain elevated his hands toward the heavens, and his scowl lightened into a wide smile. Other than some blood trickling from the mouth and an eye—swelling at an astronomical rate—becoming a mountain out of a molehill, DuFrain’s opponent, Bucky Farmer, was sound asleep. 

For several, scary minutes, Farmer remained flat on his back—motionless. When he did, eventually, awaken, screams of pain frayed the nerves of spectators. Wide-eyed silence from every seat called back in response. 

The cage side physician inventoried the damage inflicted by DuFrain’s battering ram of a right hand—a broken orbital, most certainly, but only an x-ray could reveal its extent. Showing more and more signs of life, the doctor continued his examination.

As the doctor pried open the eye that had sealed shut, considerable amounts of blood and chunks of membrane poured from the eye’s socket.

“His eye has ruptured; we need an ambulance, IMMEDIATELY!”

The doctor’s intuition led him to demand that the commission remove DuFrain’s gloves; thereby, revealing egregious handwraps that were comparable to a corked bat in baseball.

Prompted from MMA Storytime’s Ten-Sentence Story Challenge at: https://mmastorytime.com/2020/01/20/ten-sentence-story-challenge-2/.

Prompted from Fandango’s Word of the Day Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/01/20/fowc-with-fandango-egregious/.

A Young Man’s Game

“MMA is a young man’s game.”

Jerry chucked an empty beer can across the room at the T.V. the moment the words left the commentator’s mouth. He was coherent enough to throw an empty can—this time—because it was the only working television in the apartment, and the last thing he needed was another cracked screen.

In Jerry’s drunken reality, neither of The Big Show’s commentators could have said anything right during the broadcast; one way or another, they were catching some tin across the chin. If I had been allowed in there, I could show them this old dog’s tricks

The chances of Jerry ever getting an opportunity in The Big Show had been locked away in a kennel, according to his Manager. Although Jerry’s Manager delivered The Big Show’s rejection over the years in creative ways, the news never hit him in the gut with any less power; the most recent denial, however, was the knockout blow.

Jerry dreamt about becoming a star in The Big Show, potentially a long-reigning champion, since beginning his trek through MMA nearly two decades ago. Just before Jerry turned thirty—the most promising point in his prizefighting career—a horrific car accident derailed his trajectory. A driver high on meth sent Jerry, for over three years, to the lowest point in his life: financial ruin, crippling depression, and a bum knee in need of multiple surgeries and countless rounds worth of rehabilitation. 

“Be straight with me, Doc. Am I going to fight again?”

The doctor dove within his infinite wisdom of mangled knees and said, “There’s a good chance you could.”

Those were the words that pulled Jerry from bed every morning like the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls; otherwise, he may never have left the safe haven of his sheets, stuffing his face, instead, with pizza and soda until surpassing the super heavyweight division.

Following several successful scraps opposite some of the sport’s bright hopefuls—thanks largely in part to his Manager’s creative matchmaking and promoting ability—Jerry, again, found himself as a blip onThe Big Show’s radar. 

“I just got word that The Big Show’s scouts will be on hand for your upcoming fight. Isn’t this great!” Jerry’s Manager was bursting with self-satisfaction.

It was great then, and it was still great as Jerry made his way toward the cage. The crowd’s wail of disdain for Jerry, the outisder, muffled when he noted The Big Show’s scouts seated in the second row. They came for a show, and they’re not leaving without one.

After the entirety of three grueling rounds, Jerry and Stevie “Sledgehammer” Cortez wore their effort in one another’s blood as well as bruising and swelling from head to toe. Who in their right minds would doubt either of their desire?

Jerry’s Manager approached the marred martial artist while being attended to by the physician backstage. He didn’t beat around the bush, “They passed. Sorry, man.”

“Did they say why?”

His Manager shook his head; the crow’s feet in Jerry’s eyes appeared as he forced a smile onto his weathered face, aware his age was a deciding factor.

Prompted from Fandango’s One Word Challenge at: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/01/06/fowc-with-fandango-creative/.

Also prompted from the Word of the Day Challenge at: https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/wisdom/.